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Greenport continues working toward time limits for approved site plans

Greenport Village officials are continuing to modify current code to establish a two-year expiration date for approved site plans.

Trustee Mary Bess Phillips presented a proposed draft of Chapter 150-30 of the village code at a work session this month to gather other members’ thoughts on the code language.

Under that proposed code, an approved site plan would be valid for two years from the date of approval. If the applicant does not obtain a valid building permit within that two-year period, the village Planning Board may grant one 12-month extension if the applicant requests it at least at least 30 days before the approval’s expiration date.

The code would also apply to site plans that have been approved but have not obtained building permits before the date the proposed code is adopted.

A discrepancy in the language of the draft sparked concern for Mayor George Hubbard Jr., who worried it might apply to preexisting commercial properties. At the time of construction, Mr. Hubbard said, some of the properties in the downtown area did not require site plan approval.

“With this new law, we’re saying if you have site plan approval — every commercial property should have site plan approval in their file. If they haven’t done anything for 20 years, now they have to go to the Planning Board before they can put anything on their property,” he said.

A building permit cannot be denied on the basis of an old site plan approval, village administrator Paul Pallas said.

Ms. Phillips said that if a property owner who has a 10-year-old approved site plan applies for a building permit, it would need to be reviewed by the Planning Board.

“It’s not us searching to find old site plans, it’s when the property owner decides they need to have building permit for something and then that needs to be reviewed by the Planning Board,” she said.

At an August work session, Ms. Phillips said some builders in the village have delayed construction on their property and by the time renovations began, the building no longer fits in with its surroundings.

Village attorney Joseph Prokop said the language of the code could be “simplified.” Mr. Pallas said he would work to modify the language to address Mr. Hubbard’s concern.

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